Perception is reality. 

I find myself saying this a lot these days. Your reputation is what matters, and sometimes what others think about you out there is not what you intended at all, and yet, here you are, left to deal with it.

This is never more true than it is with online reviews. Ever since I began working in this world of online engagement, reputation management has been a part of what we do. And since almost day one, I’ve continued to get the same question from clients, potential clients and people who know what we do on our team: “Why can’t we remove a negative review?” The answer always has a couple reasons, namely:

  1. The review is public. Even if you were on a platform where you could remove the review, you don’t want to. Others have already seen that review and it’s better to publicly respond to it so that the reviewer – and others – know your company heard the information and you have a response to it.
  2. The review just might bring to light an actual issue which needs attention.

Now, I agree it would be so much better if people would be more solution-oriented and bring the concern to someone who can actually do something about it, but what we’ve seen over the past few decades is they’d prefer to just publicly complain. I know, I know, I don’t get it either but my gut tells me they don’t actually want the solution, they’re happier being angry. Well… that’s a problem with them, not you.

You as the business owner are going to take the high road because it’s the right thing to do.

One of our clients received a negative review last week on Google. The reviewer stated she had been to the store and was to have received a follow-up call and did not, and therefore posted a 1-star review. I know I know I know…. you and I would have probably just called the store for follow-up (people get busy, sometimes a phone call gets missed, we’re all human here) but instead she went public and lashed out.

This particular store (it’s more of a showroom) actually has a pretty specific process about knowing who has stopped by and what they are looking for. So the owner of the company got right on it. The reviewer’s name was not on any in-store logs so our first thought was she’s reviewing the wrong the business. Our team responded with this information which got the reviewer to pick up the phone and call. That phone call led to the discovery that she uses a different name online than she does in the “real world.” AND…. in fact, she WAS due a follow-up call. It actually was a miss on the part of the company.

This led to the company owner gathering the in-store sales team to discuss their process and fix gaps in the system so it doesn’t happen again.

Had the negative review never come in, no one would have known about this issue and it wouldn’t have been fixed, leading to more missed follow-ups.

So, although we never want to read a negative review about ourselves, when one pops up, take it in, process it and get to the bottom of it. You might just find that in this case the customer is right.

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